Author Topic: What was the last play you watched?  (Read 51868 times)

What was the last play you watched?
« on: 01 July, 2012, 12:48:24 am »
"Close the coalhouse door"
That were good, that was.

Lots of laughs, lots of serious stuff. Good cast.
<i>Marmite slave</i>


  • The one with devious, cake-pushing ways....
Re: What was the last play you watched?
« Reply #1 on: 01 July, 2012, 04:39:37 am »
I saw that on Friday!  It was rather splendid, wasn't it?  My review, from facebook, on Friday...

Went, on my own, to see a play... about mining communities in the north-east, the formation of the unions, strikes, and a whole lot more. Humour, history, politics, chain-smoking Geordies, some cracking music and plenty of self-referential Brechtian dismantling of the fourth wall. Brian who directed the Youth Theatre I was in as a teen (most famous Brian quote from that era must be "Yes I think all theatre is political. Life is political") would have approved, I feel. I did too, even if I suspect lots of it went straight over my ignorant head. Although there's summat slightly surreal about watching a self-proclaimed socialist drama complete with a bit of good old-fashioned agit-prop tendencies and the odd snippet from the Red Flag whilst sat on scarlet velour seats among the ornate plasterwork in the chandelier-lit Theatre Royal, surrounded by people sipping interval-bought white wine or G&T. It was probably a post-modern experience. Or something. Great show - if you're in York and free tomorrow I'd recommend it.

But that wasn't actually the last play I saw.  Yesterday evening's facebook review....
Continuing my weekend of pretending to be cultured, I went to see another show. In the Studio this time, so less chandeliers and plasterwork and gin and a bit more leaky roof (due to the torrential rain outside) but still rather splendid in a distinctly different way. A new two-hander, a folk tale with folk music, performed mostly with aplomb. Whimsical, conversational, visually ingenious with accomplished musical performances on an astonishing array of musical instruments from harps to accordions. An little over an hour of escapism and exploration of liminal space. Well, that was always likely to strike a chord for me, wasn't it? The bridge thang is for a reason, y'know ;-)

And I hadn't planned to go to the theatre at all this weekend - it was a last minute decision on Friday teatime!


Re: What was the last play you watched?
« Reply #2 on: 01 July, 2012, 10:29:06 am »
I think it's five years since I went to the theatre!

Terms of Endearment, at Darlington Civic, with Linda Gray as the mother.  It was great.  I cried.  Of course.   ::-)

A mother/daughter story.


Re: What was the last play you watched?
« Reply #3 on: 23 August, 2012, 11:37:42 am »
Dandy Dick at the New Alexandra Birmingham

A farce set in a 19th C vicarage where the said Vicar stupidly agrees to finance a large project without having the funds to do so. Can his wayward sister and a racehorse call Dandy Dick save the day…….

Can’t say it was the best play I have ever seen as it was a little formulaic: Two daughters being wooed by a solider and a gentlemen, a wayward sister and a long not seen friend from Cambridge who has a romantic interest in the sister….or was it Oxford? I forget. There were few laugh out loud moments and what action there was could be seen approaching from a couple of furlongs away: Oscar Wilde it wasn’t sadly.

The best bit was straight after the break when….. well wont say as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone with tickets. Talking about tickets, we paid £13.50 for tickets in the stalls: good value especially as we were five rows from the front and the house was less than 40% full.

Next up for us is Timon of Athens…. Now that’s a real barrel of laughs! (actually, the production at the Globe a couple of years ago was the best thing I have seen at the theatre!)

Ah, the Guardian review says it better then I could ever!


  • Whimsy Rider
Re: What was the last play you watched?
« Reply #4 on: 23 August, 2012, 01:13:10 pm »
Taming of the Shrew at the Globe. Good fun, though a play that hasn't worn as well as some.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...


  • The one with devious, cake-pushing ways....
Re: What was the last play you watched?
« Reply #5 on: 25 September, 2012, 09:41:32 am »
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, first night at York Theatre Royal, a couple of weeks back with CrinklyAuntie.  Highly recommended.


  • Tyke 2
Re: What was the last play you watched?
« Reply #6 on: 07 October, 2012, 10:31:38 am »
I'm not normally one for the theatre but last night I saw Jack The Ripper: The Panto at the Maddermarket.

Absolutely fantastic night out: grisly murders, cannibalism, ropey old whores, prissy fairy godmothers, an evil cat, opium-addled coppers & S&M-themed singalongs galore.  :thumbsup:

Edit: now available on video: the longer vid is Part 1

Bingo! That's what I am, a saviour.
A sort of cocky version of Jesus.


Re: What was the last play you watched?
« Reply #7 on: 18 January, 2013, 03:30:00 pm »
The Magistrate, National Theatre London *

To quote the National Theatre website: “John Lithgow takes the title role in this fast, furious, brilliantly plotted farce set in Victorian London…..” Such a strap line hardly sums up one of the best nights at the theatre we have had in many a year.

Funny, brilliantly acted with a wonderful cast and setting, The Magistrate is a gem of a play. Based upon the premise that a women can never be seen to be her actual age, The Magistrates wife takes five years off her age, making her son 14 years old….. as with all such comedies, this lie can not last and as soon as her sister and an old friend from India arrive, all hell breaks loose, including a seriously side bursting third act! 

If you get the chance to see this, do! (Sadly it ends on the 10th Feb, so best get your finger out!) The trailer can be found here:

* When I say live, it was broadcast live to our local Arts Complex: well saves a trip into that London!

Up next is "Bedroom Farce" by the Lichfield Players in Feb and then Carman in March.


  • The one with devious, cake-pushing ways....
Re: What was the last play you watched?
« Reply #8 on: 01 March, 2013, 10:14:25 pm »
Running on The Cracks, in the Studio at York Theatre Royal.

a) I really like the Studio.  It is a tiny cosy little gem of a performance space with brilliant sightlines and everything sounds right and every seat in the place is so close you can see the whites of their eyes.
b) Nice set and design.
c) Blimey, there's a lot of material in there.  Theme-tastic.  Family, friendship, loss, bereavement, runaways, identity, mental heath, drug abuse, multi-culturalism, abuse.  With a bit of a detective story thrown in too.  And jobsworths and the DPA.  Leo, teenage orphan, runs away from her aunt and creepy uncle's in Bristol to Glasgow in search of the grandparents she has never met and is befriended by a stranger called Mary (who has spent all her DLA on biscuits) in the park, and encounters Finlay the teenage paperboy.  Dim sum as a deus ex machina play a pivotal role in the narrative.  Will she find her family before the Uncle finds her?
d) Superb ensemble cast.  The whole thing made me vaguely nostalgic for when I used to do that kind of thing and that feeling of being part of a cast that locks together like a jigsaw and won't let anyone slip - before I actually studied theatre at uni and discovered that there most actors were bloody annoying and it was more fun on the tech team who weren't the cool kids but had better coffee and less ego.  The two young'uns were bloody good as Leo and Finlay.  The three other performers played (counts on fingers, scratches head...) maybe 15 characters between 'em.  Crisp, efficient effective transitions and strong characterisation.  Slightly alarmed at one or two moments that they'd land in the audience mind.

And I managed to hold the Cough Of Doom at bay throughout the whole thing.  Hurrah.



  • The one with devious, cake-pushing ways....
Re: What was the last play you watched?
« Reply #9 on: 16 March, 2013, 10:44:51 pm »
I'm slacking.... I've seen three more plays since then!

So first - an overdue Theatre review from Thursday evening last week. A double bill in the De Grey rooms, complete with chandeliers....
First up, Beulah. I saw this in the Studio, last summer, and really liked it. In fact I think I reviewed it somewhere up there ^^^^^.  I really liked it again :) Very much the same show, although with only one of the two actors I say last time, yet somehow completely different in a different space. A little more slick in the performance, a little less theatrical in the presentation, different but still good. I think, on balance, I preferred it in the slightly less luxurious environment of the Theatre Royal's Studio where the physicality of the performance was less constrained by the space. Plus I always like stuff performed in thrust or the round better, and this show in particular, what with its theme of the construction of a shared imaginative space and all, worked well there with the audience as backdrop. Music sounded gorgeous in the Cocktail bar, mind...

Then, Some Small Love Story. Now musical theatre isn't my thing. Let's get that clear at the start. But if you are going to do a stripped down musical with no stage or set or costumes or props or movement - just spoken lines and sung words performed to the accompaniment of a keyboard by four actors in jeans and black t-shirts looking like they've just wandered out of a Paris jazz club - then it needs to be really really good. As in the content needs to be good. The writing needs to be superb. And the singing needs to be brilliant.

This wasn't. There was a load of tripe dialogue about someone being in ICU.  I sat there thinking "Oh shit, LG will _hate_ this!" because even I could tell it was sentimental bollocks, a view confirmed by our expert-in-attendance.  Failed the "arse test" completely - where you spend more time thinking about the fact that the chair isn't particularly comfy than about the show. Meh.  We clapped politely, but only because we are British.  Deano commented as we exited (as if pursued by a bear) the De Grey rooms that he's never been so glad to leave a theatre in his life.

I sort of wished they'd put them in the other order, to finish on a high. But in the end realised I was glad they hadn't, as otherwise LindaG and That Deano wot I dragged along with the lure of Blake-related folk-musically-rich goodness might have left at the interval and not seen Beulah which was more than worth the ticket price on its own.  And they'll probably forgive me for the other one, eventually.


  • The one with devious, cake-pushing ways....
Re: What was the last play you watched?
« Reply #10 on: 16 March, 2013, 11:08:13 pm »
And then tonight.... Random Pick!

I had been contemplating a gig, but I went to one of them with a mate last night and it was splendid and I decided I probably couldn't be arsed with going to The Duchess on my own for a random pick that I might or might not like.  Theatre is easier on your tod.  Despite still being on the platform at Yarm station at18:03 I managed to make it back to York and the Den and get changed out of Lycra and back out to the Theatre Royal with 10 minutes to spare before the performance started at 7:45.  I couldn't actually remember what said performance was going to be of, so wandered to the Box Office and asked for a ticket for "tonight's show in The Studio" and picked a nice quiet seat in the corner.  Turns out it was this...
Suicide, murder, domestic violence, cruelty to animals, and chocolate theft, treading a tricky path along the edge of rather bleak humour.  Almost more stage hands dealing with the minimalist set than performers.  I worked out at the second set change that this actually slightly annoyed me.  The transitions just weren't slick enough, which with that number of people on hand they should have been, and it meant that the occasional odd choices for props and set dressing grated because I was thinking about them more than I should have.  Would they drop the pill bottle?  Would they leave the doorknobs behind?  It didn't quite inspire confidence and distracted a little from the narrative.  Very much my kind of set - not a lot to it, used with cunning - but it felt a little clumsy and you were almost waiting for something to not quite work.  Strong performances on the whole - although a few moments where it felt like a line got lost or the dialogue tripped over itself.  One or two real "moments" though and Charlie, the last character we met, was quite simply bloody good.  I came out thinking 'that was OK' but somehow feeling like there were a few too-obvious choices made and that I've done plays with higher production values... not quite the quality I'd expect from the Studio.  Then I went and read the blurb and realised it is in fact put on by an amateur community theatre group.  Made a bit more sense then!


  • The one with devious, cake-pushing ways....
Re: What was the last play you watched?
« Reply #11 on: 03 May, 2013, 10:09:02 am »
This one

A stage adaptation, apparently, of a couple of AS Byatt stories.  Back when I used to read I remember enjoying AS Byatt so this one pinged on my radar a few months back.  Then I realised that this was the last week of the run so I needed to go this week if I was going to catch it.

The Studio again, with a very simple but effective set.  A two-hander, the principle characters being Mr Adamson, a Victorian entomologist and returned amazonian explorer of solid Huddersfield stock, and Matty Crompton - some kind of tutor for the younger children in the country house they both inhabit.  All the other characters in the narrative - the Lord, the indolent Lady, the smokin' huntin' sons of the family, the decorative daughters and the staff are present only through the descriptions and portrayals of these two.  My word, but it is wordy.  I remember that about Byatt.  Plenty of Victorian aspiration and repressed, seething, sexuality.  Matty Crompton speaks little for about half of the show, although her cello-playing forms part of the dialogue in the absence of her words and, later, in addition to them.  As a play, this one needed concentration to keep up with.  It didn't help that the lady behind me spent the first half hour doing battle with a Cough Of Doom but the performers were focussed enough to keep the momentum despite the distraction (that's the problem with the Studio, every audience sniffle is audible to everyone and apart from a few seats near the door there is no way you can 'escape' once the show has started) and accomplished enough that they kept my attention, at least.  A one act show lasting nearly an hour and three quarters is a lot to ask of both performers and audience, especially performed in such a word-rich way, and there were a few moments that it got a little lost, for me at least, in the maelstrom of speech and the pace felt a little off.  A couple of delightfully whimsical sequences, butterfly clouds and ant hunts and shadow puppetry included, added a more physical element to the performance and there was a nice balance of light and dark both thematically and in the staging.  As we wandered out at the end (past the ladies holding large signs warning Studio-attenders to be quiet, please, as there  was an ongoing performance in the main house) I overheard a couple of hushed conversations about how people had spotted "the sting in the tale" 20 minutes or so before the dénouement.  I found that a little odd, as I thought that the foreshadowing had signposted the way much earlier although not in a way that implies a lack of subtlety.  Maybe my half-remembered reading of Byatt gave me more clues as to the likely outcome than I realised.

A Jolly Good Show.


Re: What was the last play you watched?
« Reply #12 on: 12 September, 2013, 06:30:54 pm »
"West Side Story" at Sadlers Wells London

Blimey, this thread doesn't get much action....

Off to London yesterday for the afternoon showing of West Side Story: we only discovered it was touring after we booked the tickets. Nevermind, I like Sadlers Wells as a venue and at £15 a ticket, you can't really argue (although £6.90 for a small glass of wine took some swallowing.... not used to London prices anymore I guess).

While enjoyable, the music is a little dated and some of the singing wasn't up to standard, apart from the women playing Maria: how did such a voice come out of such a small frame? The dancing which varied from modern to what could be called "light ballet" was powerful and brought the story line alive.

Overall, it was well worth seeing although SWMBO didn't think it was as good as Hair and Hairspray but better than Chicago and Cabaret (which we walked out of as it was so bad).

Re: What was the last play you watched?
« Reply #13 on: 18 October, 2013, 10:21:46 am »
I've been on a theatre kick during the last couple of weeks.

The excellent Sell A Door company performed Ibsen's "Ghosts" to a mainly studenty audience at Liverpool's Capstone theatre last week.   

I've not seen or read Ibsen before, but his reputation for gloom seems deserved!

On Wednesday I saw "Crime & Punishment" at the Liverpool Playhouse.  This was excellent,  I was in row B and could see the spittle flying off Raskolnikov as he plunged into madness & despair.

Last night was an Encore broadcast of the National Theatres "Othello" , a wonderful production, though my legs & bum were numb by the end.  FACT was packed out as well.
Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark


  • Ride adventurously and stop for a brew.
Re: What was the last play you watched?
« Reply #14 on: 18 October, 2013, 11:38:37 am »
Macbeth in 30 minutes as a comedy.
Not recommended.
Riding a concrete path through the nebulous and chaotic future.


Re: What was the last play you watched?
« Reply #15 on: 18 October, 2013, 12:36:45 pm »
'Floating', last night at the Arc in Stockton on Tees.

A single performer, monologuing for ninety minutes.  Her performance was extraordinary.  She managed to remain in character, whilst mimicking people whe was talking about.  She 'became' a frightened old lady, and a snooty lawyer, and a poorly old man, and an aggressive lout.  That must be what professional acting is for.

It was a play about an NHS Critical Care nurse, so I didn't learn anything new.  But whoever wrote the play must have talked to a lot of us, or spent a lot of time working with us, or even be one of us.  They must also have wonderful observational skills, because quite a few times I found myself thinking, "My god!  That's right!  They really do do that!  And I hadn't even noticed it, but yes, they do!"

Very clever stuff that.  I'd be interested to know what someone who wasn't on a busman's holiday made of it.


  • Hornblower
Re: What was the last play you watched?
« Reply #16 on: 18 October, 2013, 05:12:24 pm »
The last play I saw was Titus Alone at the Oxford Playhouse in 1981.

I don't go to the theatre much.
There's no vibrations, but wait.

Pedal Castro

  • so talented I can run with scissors - ouch!
    • Two beers or not two beers...
Re: What was the last play you watched?
« Reply #17 on: 18 October, 2013, 05:21:08 pm »

On Wednesday I saw "Crime & Punishment" at the Liverpool Playhouse.  This was excellent,  I was in row B and could see the spittle flying off Raskolnikov as he plunged into madness & despair.

Crime and Punishment as a play? Madness I tell you!

How long did it last?

Re: What was the last play you watched?
« Reply #18 on: 18 October, 2013, 08:11:25 pm »
2 hours 40 minutes including the interval.
I've not read the book but looking at some reviews a lot of the back story about his sister was cut out.
Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark

Tim Hall

  • Victoria is my queen
Re: What was the last play you watched?
« Reply #19 on: 01 November, 2013, 02:02:12 pm »
"Katherine Howard" by William Nicholson.  Not what I was expecting, but in a good way. Tales of political machinations, undying love, betrayal, faction against faction. It doesn't end well for her.  Performed at the local amateur theatre.
There are two ways you can get exercise out of a bicycle: you can
"overhaul" it, or you can ride it.  (Jerome K Jerome)

Tail End Charlie

Re: What was the last play you watched?
« Reply #20 on: 01 November, 2013, 05:53:32 pm »
The Full Monty musical, because a riding partner pal of mine was playing the part of Keno (an American Chippendale).

Re: What was the last play you watched?
« Reply #21 on: 14 November, 2013, 11:52:54 pm »
A Shakespeare week.   Wednesday I was at FACT for Richard II, broadcast live from Stratford.  This is a good way to watch plays you'd otherwise need to spend serious money to see, but each time I've seen a live broadcast or a repeated Encore there has been some level of technical glitch.  In this case we had sound without video for 10 minutes  :(

Overall a stonking show, though I thought Tennant's effete Richard just couldn't exist in the same universe as the battle hardened warriors who surrounded him.

Tonight was Much Ado About Nothing at The Capstone. Husband & wife Harry Meacher & Judi Bowker as Benedick & Beatrice.  A fun filled performance, with Meacher stealing the show, to an audience that was mainly schoolkids & students.

Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark


  • The one with devious, cake-pushing ways....
Re: What was the last play you watched?
« Reply #22 on: 15 December, 2013, 10:16:51 am »

Stuff and Nonsense Theatre Company with a puppet-tastic story at the Arc in Stockton in the jolly civilised company of Ruthie and jolly tiring company of both Cubs and their soon-to-be-step-sister.

First up - the venue.  I liked the space, great sightlines, comfy seats, big enough to feel like An Event, small enough to feel cosy.  Dreadful signage - tickets said door D but there were no signs to tell you where that was - and no staff checking tickets at any of the four doors which meant that a) we couldn't ask where our seats were and b) we could have just walked in for free.  Space and setup 9/10, FOH 3/10. 

It was a rowdy audience of teenies and Ruthie had expressed a concern that it might be a bit 'young' for the EldestCub.  Fortunately my little proto-teen isn't the kind that dismisses stuff out of hand for being baby-ish (well, not unless he's got his proto-teen mates around) and is clever enough at language and widely read enough to "get" a lot of the humour that was in the script for the parents and carers.

Two performers and 5 puppets.  Nicely judged juxtaposition of puppetry and humans.  Clear, crisp and efficient.  Some good prop stuff, a bit of slapstick, and the 6 year old audience participant in the cabbage sequence stole the show.  SmallestCub laughed like a drain, clapped til his hands hurt and sang along.  Their STBS-sister (who is a big fan of The Theatre) was utterly transfixed - sliding off her chair to kneel on the floor and hold onto the back of the (empty) seat in front of her at one point, and standing up to boogy along.  EldestCub agreed with me that the wolf puppet in particular was very good although we disagreed about the choice to use it so little - I thought it was a judicious decision to have wolfie mostly played by the actor and only appearing in puppet form towards the end in a sequence that made brilliant use of the really very good puppet where the Cub thought it was 'a waste of the best puppet'.  But I suspect Ruthie enjoyed it as much as the three kids added together :D


Re: What was the last play you watched?
« Reply #23 on: 16 December, 2013, 11:42:54 am »
Apart from taking the sprogs to panto and going to London to see We Will Rock You, I have only ever been to see a play once in my life, this April with SWMBO and a visiting Septic friend, we went to that there London again to see The Mousetrap. I have a feeling some of the props, scenery and cast have changed since it first opened, whereas the seating hasn't- god the seats were uncomfortable! The play was a hoot though :thumbsup:


  • Андрій
  • Ερασιτεχνικός μισάνθρωπος
Re: What was the last play you watched?
« Reply #24 on: 06 February, 2014, 09:32:55 am »
Last night I saw Henry V at the Noël Coward Theatre (London). 

An excellent production, though I'd quibble a bit about the costume of the Chorus.  BTW, Jude Law played Henry, and he was good.  I had read a few rather positive reviews, but always take those things with a pinch of salt.  I must say they were spot on.
;D  Andrij.  I pronounce you Complete and Utter GIT   :thumbsup: